This was my first car and I paid $200 for it in 2009. During the time I owned this vehicle the only things that I had to replace were the fuel pump and the water pump. It had just about 200k miles on it and I trusted it to take me anywhere. It never died on me and always started right up. Went to trade it in at a dealership and the guy told me he wouldnt do it because the tranny was gonna go out of it because they are known for it. He got mad when I laughed in his face. The tranny had never been replaced and never gave me any issues at all. Would love to own another one. I had a 1999 Plymouth grand voyager and that thing was very solid aswell. Took a bad beating from the previous owner.
I bought used vehicle at 100K miles. Now it is at 150K miles. Drove across Texas several times with family, it never let us down. Recently while driving in town in rain, the serpentine belt came off. A month earlier I had replace the rack. Still I feel uncomfortable of its steering. It is loosing power steering intermittently in slow driving. Trying get rid of it soon
Interior roominess and there are NO PITS of 'stow n Go' features. I like the flat floor. That is why I kept it.
Current Grand Caravan model is NO GOOD. Dodge should manufacture Grand Caravans with 1997 Grand Caravan ES style with current engine and parts.
1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Minivan ES 4dr Minivan AWD
This is my third Dodge Caravan and the best of them. I've been driving this 1997 for 80k+ miles and I keep it in good condition with regular maintenance. The steering rack is the only major part that needed replacing. With 4 kids and a lot of very local driving, this is perfect for mom. The car is spacious, comfortable and easy to drive. Mine is AWD, which brings additional comfort in traction during wet or snowy weather. Very happy with it.
Sliding doors on both sides, makes it easy to get kids and cargo. Sound system is great. Having air conditioning and heating units in the back are fantastic to cool/heat the back of the van quickly.
The spare storage tray in the center under the radio is flimsy and easy to break (and keep breaking). Better gas mileage (barely gets 20 mpg on highway). Windows that roll down on the side doors would be great too.
Just traded in this van as a single owner after 165k miles. All in all a very solid van. We've taken it on many long distance trips and have never been left stranded. Major issues we dealt with over the years included a failing battery (very early on and covered by warranty), two replaced water pumps, and a failed radiator fan relay. I wouldn't say brakes were an "issue", but they (fronts) did need to be replaced about every 30k miles. I did some of the work myself and found the vehicle highly serviceable. Honda and the other imports may be considered more reliable, but replacement parts much more expensive. We promptly addressed any suspected issues and never had a major breakdown.
Strong engine for highway and mountain driving. Roomy. Paint finishes held extremely well as did cloth interior. Withstood a lot of abuse from a 6 person family.
Brakes seem to be the weak link with many Dodge models.
We had an older boxy-style (1994) Caravan, and when we bought the new model, my wife said it was the best "car" she ever owned. Smoother body panels are very appealing. Seats remove easily (although are heavy to lift). You can lay a 4x8 sheet of plywood flat inside when seats are out (very handy). Mileage was about 18 city/ 25 highway - great for a van. Body lean on curves is a little annoying, but expected for a tall vehicle. Well designed layout. Tall seats are very comfortable. Visibility is great.
Removable seats, lots of cargo room, dual sliding doors, reliable engine. Extra storage drawer under passenger seat. Wide back hatch opening.
Driver's side strut tower rusts easily and is a $200 repair. Driver's CV shaft is also prone to breaking. Otherwise, great car! Passenger seat has back/forth adjustment (???) - annoying again. Second row seat windows that open would be good (for the dogs).